Why did incy wincy spider climb up the water spout?
The history of Little Miss Muffet, Jack and Jill, and Incy Wincy Spider, is set to be the focus of Education experts from the University of Sheffield, in the form of a unique new resource.
The Childhoods and Play website launched by the University's School of Education is a resource for those interested in the intriguing history of children's games, songs and nursery rhymes.
The Childhoods and Play project, funded by the British Academy, aims to develop an interactive archive, relating to the play traditions of children.
Eventually, it will contain information contributed by more than 20,000 British youngsters, as well as observations and sound recordings from world-renowned folklorists Iona and Peter Opie, whose famous works include:
The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery Rhymes, Children's Games in Street and Playground and The Classic Fairy Tales.
The project aims to bring together the entire collection of Opie archives deposited at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford, the British Library Sound Archive, and the Folklore Society in London, by creating a digital resource accessible for research in a wide range of disciplines.
This will enable national and international history of play researchers to use the invaluable collections online for the very first time.
Professor Jackie Marsh, the director of the project, said: "We are very excited by the launch of this project and we look forward to developing the resource in the years ahead.
"The UK is fortunate in having access to the Opie archives, a product of their extensive and pioneering work on childhood play, and this project will ensure that the collection becomes more widely accessible."
The website, Opie Project is part of an innovative project adopted as a British Academy Research Project running until 2017.
The scheme recognises the academic excellence of major infrastructural projects or research facilities, intended to produce fundamental works of scholarship.
The project team will also conduct research into the history of play and child cultures in the UK over the past 60 years using the archive.
The University of Sheffield
The University of Sheffield With nearly 25,000 students from 125 countries, the University of Sheffield is one of the UK’s leading and largest universities. A member of the Russell Group, it has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.
The University of Sheffield has been named University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards for its exceptional performance in research, teaching, access and business performance. In addition, the University has won four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes (1998, 2000, 2002, 2007). These prestigious awards recognise outstanding contributions by universities and colleges to the United Kingdom’s intellectual, economic, cultural and social life. Sheffield also boasts five Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and many of its alumni have gone on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence around the world.
The University’s research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, Boots, AstraZeneca, GSK, ICI, Slazenger, and many more household names, as well as UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.
The University has well-established partnerships with a number of universities and major corporations, both in the UK and abroad. Its partnership with Leeds and York Universities in the White Rose Consortium has a combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge.
The British Academy
The British Academy, established by Royal Charter in 1902, is the national body that champions and supports the humanities and social sciences. It aims to inspire, recognise and support excellence and high achievement across the UK and internationally.
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